It's game week! Texas Tech's opener against Texas State is this Saturday, and to
get ready for the season we've got four questions with
Click Here to view this Link.Did you all have a good camp?
TT: "Good camp. We've had three or four good scrimmages. The hay's in the barn
pretty much with what we're going to do with camp. Now it's time to
start game planning this week for Texas State. There will be a lot of technique
things we will continue to work on during the week, but you just don't have
enough time once you start the season to do all of your blocking drill
techniques every day, and your tackling drill techniques, and also put a game
plan in. So, we've done a lot of technique work through spring practice and
through camp in the last month. Our guys are a little bit leg weary, they're
tired. We've got to get into game mode now where we can put our game plan in,
get them rested up after a good Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday practice, and get
our legs underneath us, and get them ready to go on Saturday."
Biggest difference, for you, taking over a program from year one to year two is
what? It's got to feel different this year than last year.
TT: "The big thing is knowing what we're getting into in terms of the teams that
we are playing. I really had no clue of what level that we were going to play in
terms of all our conference teams, where they were at; their speed, their
fundamentals, what we needed to do to make ourselves a good football team that
certain week versus that certain type of team, but other than that, you know,
football is football. We started from the bottom, putting our weight program in,
our training program, in terms of running and lifting. Then, of course, our
lifting and training room, our equipment room, everything that kind of surrounds
the football part of the program. It doesn't change much. I've seen good results
from the first month that we were here until now, what, 17, 18 months. Guys are
buying into the program. We're not there yet. We don't have the overall speed
and quickness that we want to have year-in and year-out, but we're getting
closer. I think that our offense and defense is kind of gelling, coming
together, where guys are really learning how we play it. Now, we've changed
defensively, but we really haven't changed the philosophy. We still want to be
an attacking defense, coming off the ball on the snap of the ball, making things
happen instead of sitting back. We've gone from a philosophy of basing out of a
four-man-front instead of a three-man-front, but we played mostly four-man-front
last year. We just didn't have enough defensive linemen on the roster to play a
four-man-front to play it as much as we will this year. Things are looking up. I
like our new guys that we have in positions. I like our new recruits that have
come in. So, we just need to keep on keeping on, so to speak."
You mention speed. You're not as fast as you want to be, but you're much faster
as a team this year than you were last. How much more explosive and faster have you noticed things in this
first month of practices compared to where it was when you took over?
TT: "Well, you know, we went spring practice early, and we'll do that continually
every year because I like a lot of offseason after spring ball while they're
still here on campus going to school, getting stronger, and learning to lift.
We're still a little bit behind from the waist down in terms of the leg strength
I would like. We had too many injuries last year. We were upper-body strong, but
not lower-body strong. You play the game of football with your lower-body.
You've got to be able to get there with your lower-body before you can hit
anybody with your upper-body. So, we've made a lot of progress there. I think it
has kind of showed. We had, probably, 20 percent of the injuries in two-a-days this
year than we did last year; pulled muscles, pulled hamstrings, and all those
things. So, it'll pay off for us in the long run. Joe Walker and his staff has
done a great job building a leaner football team I think you'll see. Our
linemen, on both sides of the ball, have probably dropped two or three percent
body fat. I'm not big on big guys, you know, guys that just look chunky. I like
for them to look lean, and when they look lean they plan faster, they play
quicker, and I've always learned that first step off the ball in football wins.
So, we're not there yet, as a team, but we're getting closer."
Is the perception of your program where you want it to be, heading into
year two of your tenure?
TT: "We're not close, yet, to where we can get to. I think we're going to have a
good team. People ask, 'how many you going to win?' I have no clue. I think
we're good enough this year, on both sides of the ball, to beat anybody we play.
Now, obviously, we're going to play against the number one team in the country,
as we speak, in Oklahoma at their place, and they've lost, what, one game in one
hundred years at home? So, that's going to be tough, but, hey, no body gave us a
chance last year and we beat a team that beat Oklahoma a week before in Missouri
where, I think, we were a 10, 12, 14-point underdog. But, we've got the
attitude, and if you keep the attitude, you've got a chance. I'm fired up about
this team and about where we're headed, because recruiting. I never dreamed we'd
have a recruiting class like we had last year, after the first year. There was
so many negatives going against us, and so few positives with the change in
coaching staff, we're very fortunate that we had, not a great season, but at
least a successful season playing in a bowl game, winning a bowl game. And the
coaching staff that we have is very energetic. They love selling this program,
this school, this community, Texas Tech. To go out and have a top-ranked, and
I'm not into rankings, but we got some good football players that are not only
going to help us three or four years from now, they're going to help this year.
They can play college football, and I've been around a lot of good recruiting
classes. This is a good one, and if we can put this together a couple of times
in a row, which I think we're on the road to doing it again this year, the sky
is going to be the limit. We've just got to work through the tough times, which
we are going to have, probably this year. There are going to be some times where
inexperience is going to show up. Somebody is going to take advantage of a few
areas where we're going to have some, not glaring weaknesses, but some
weaknesses. So, I'm excited because every game is going to be new. We might go
out and light it up the first game, we might not. But, there is going to be some
games that I think we're going to have a chance to look like a good college
football team, and it'll only grow from there."
How much different is this camp to you personally than last year when you're
trying to install everything and you're dealing with a lot of youth and all of
that? You've been here a year. Things are established now.
NB: "It's definitely easier. I think the kids understand what we are trying to
do. They know our coaches better. There is less controversy quarterback wise,
and things outside of here, coaching stability and those types of things. This
group, I've been more excited about coaching this group probably than the group
last year. They've been eager. They put in a lot of work during the offseason."
How has the quarterback competition gone? Is that still going on into game week
or is Seth Doege your guy?
NB: "Seth Doege has definitely played the best of all of the quarterbacks. I'm
excited about him. He's ready for his opportunity. He's put in the work. Really
since I got here 19 months ago, he's worked extremely hard. He's a student of
the game, he's a gym rat, throws the ball extremely well, and he's been accurate
this camp. He's done a great job with leadership. It's his time and I'm excited
for him to see how far he takes us."
You lost two very productive players in Detron Lewis and Lyle Leong. Not much
experience is back, but how about a guy like Darrin Moore? He's emerged and
Alex Torres is healthy. Talk about some of the guys on the outside.
NB: "That's our biggest question mark going into the year. Seeing Seth perform,
I feel comfortable with him. Obviously, we have a lot of experience back on the
o-line. We have experience back at running back. Now we lost two really good
players. We lost Taylor Potts, he was a really good quarterback, but I feel Seth
Doege is going to be able to step in and fill those shoes and maybe even exceed
his abilities. At running back we lose Baron Batch, who obviously is a good
player for he was a draft pick in the NFL. But I feel good about Eric Stephens
and I feel really good about some of those young guys. I feel like we can be
better at that position. At wideout we lose Lyle Leong and Detron Lewis, two of
top five or six productivity guys in the Big 12, and those are going to be the
biggest shoes to fill. That's what we've been trying to do all spring and all
fall camp. I think Darrin Moore is a guy that's most ready to step up. He had a
huge spring. He was our leading receiver in the spring and he's been our leading
receiver in fall camp so far. He's a guy that needs to step up. We need him to
be our go-to guy. He's a 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4 kid, about 220 pounds, he's physical, and he
can run. I really feel like he's a guy that's not on anybody's radar screen that
can really pop up and really have a huge year production-wise for us."
You mentioned some of the newcomers and some of the guys you mixed in
everywhere. How exciting has that been? You guys had a really good recruiting
class, maybe even better than you thought now that you've had a month to work
NB: "Well it's exciting. We were excited about those guys coming in and a lot of
them have been who we thought they were. They've added a lot of team speed.
Bradley Marquez is second on our depth chart right now behind Darrin Moore at
our Z-receiver spot. He's super fast. He's transitioned from being a running back
in high school to playing wideout. He's not a finished product by any means, but
he's a guy that we can get the ball into his hands in several different
situations. He's going to play early and he's going to play a lot. The three
runningbacks we have,
we're definitely going to play two of those three. All three of them could play,
but I don't want to get them all stacked up in the same year. But, those guys
are talented. Jace Amaro gives us something in this offense that we haven't had.
He's 6-foot-5, 250 (pounds), and runs really well, so we're excited about him. I should
mention the o-lineman,
Alfredo Morales, excited about those guys.
Jakeem Grant's been a little banged-up this camp, so the jury is still out
whether he can step up and help us this year, but I think the rest of those guys
I mentioned will."
Chad, as a refresher, explain the 4-2-5 defense to people who might not have
paid attention during spring football. Explain your scheme,
what you want to do here at Texas Tech.
CG: "Well, first of all, we're going to play with four defensive linemen, two
linebackers, and five secondary guys. Of those five secondary guys, three of
them are safeties, and we believe it's going to give us more speed on the
football field, and allow us to play with good leverage all of the time. That's
kind of the basics of the 4-2-5 and why we do it."
You installed that scheme in the spring? I'm curious to know, when fall camp
started, how much carry-over was there with the guys, and did they retain it
quite a bit?
CG: "They had a lot of retention about what happened, and this fall we started
again at ground zero, and started with the very basics. It was fun seeing how
much they did retain, and we installed everything in four practices, and have
kind of come back and repeated everything since then."
I think, some of the things at TCU that you did, you were different each year,
and I think you've talked about this, 'one year we were good at man-to-man, one
year we were good at zone blitz, it just depended on what we had.' Do you have
an idea, with this defense, yet what you will be good at, and maybe what you
won't be good at yet?
CG: "Well, that's the beauty of the package. We can play zone coverage, we
can zone blitz, we can play man coverage and do those things. What we're not as
good at, we're going to continue to work throughout the season. Where, the later
you get in the season, the more answers you have to things because offenses are
so good these days."
Does it make you nervous that you may end up in a position where you only start
one senior on defense, or is that, in a way, kind of fun for you? Or, is that,
in a way, kind of a good thing, kind of fun thing for you, you know, 'we can
kind of build this group,' from a big picture standpoint?
CG: "We've asked the kids that have come in, and everything that has happened
with them. We're going to go play the best players. If we could play thirty
players on defense, we'd love to go do that because it's going to be better for
us as a football team. How they go out in practice, and once we get into game
stuff, how they go out and compete on a week-to-week basis in games. The better
we play, the more reps we will get out of it."